REVIEW: Guerrilla Monsoon – Big City Plans (2014)


Birmingham’s hardest working band? Maybe. Anyway, they’ve got Big Plans

You have to admire the “can do” spirit in the Punk Scene. Take Guerrilla Monsoon for example. Forming at the arse end of last year for, in the words of one of their singers/guitarists Mark, “something to do after work” the Birmingham quartet have set about getting as much out of their free time as possible.

This eight tracker comes hot on the heels of their split 7inch with Gameday Regulars. That release itself was as a result of more proactivity. Deciding that they quite fancied working with bands they liked, they simply emailed and the record was the culmination.

While this is going on they’ve also toured incessantly – and found the time to record “Big City Plans.”

Clocking in at less than twenty minutes, it’s a jaunty affair that appears – rather neatly for this band – to cram as much into its time as it possibly can. Split into “new” songs on side one and “old” on side two, “Flock The Nest” kicks things off, doing so with a riff that seems to burst out of the speakers, it is a tale of someone who is leaving, it’s second verse lays things out clearly: “This is something I have to do,” it says. Whether they mean GM or not is unclear, but it is absolutely obvious that this is a band who loves what they do.

There is a real, genuine ebullience and exuberance about these tracks, and they all appear to have something urgent to say. “Summer Romantics” races along at breakneck speed before pausing for breath around a middle section, which is only designed to allow it to make an even bigger sprint finish.

Side two (of course this has a 10inch vinyl version), begins with “Good Grief,” which perhaps has a touch more chug about it, as the rhythm section of Rob and James are to the fore, and elsewhere there is some glorious vocal interplay on “White Steps” as the twin frontmen Mark and Lewis vie for supremacy.

The last track “Believer” begins with a plaintive question “Is this all you ever wanted? Is this is all you ever asked for?” And whilst the song concludes that there is nothing to believe in, you suspect that the four piece feel differently about life.

There are a couple of real stand out moments here, the title track fits more into its two minutes than some bands manage in an album and is fully deserving of its airing on the Kerrang website, but best of all is “Open Letter” which essentially distils everything that is great about this record into 138 seconds of melody and feeling.

A superb opening salvo, “Big City Plans” offers more with each listen. The band aren’t ashamed of their influences – US punk, a touch of emo – but rather than mere pastiche, they have crafted something that sets them apart.

There will probably be more soon – letting the dust settle on this release does not seem to be an option – consider this Guerrilla Monsoon’s first serious ambush, there will no doubt be another raid very soon.


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